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Currently Browsing: erotic romance
Feb
1

Review: The Master by Tara Sue Me

Review: The Master by Tara Sue Me The Master Author: Tara Sue Me Reviewer: VampBard Rating: A What I’m Talking About: I’m a big fan of Tara Sue Me’s Submissive series. While I may not have raved about every single title, they all have a special place in my heart because each book has some poignant lesson I can apply to my own life. The Master is no exception. While many people read for specific purposes (predominantly, to escape reality), a single title can fill several roles. It’s always fun to immerse myself in some well-crafted characters and a substantial plot. But the books that make me think and reflect on my own life are those I’ll keep on the back-burner for a good ol’ fashioned comfort read when life just gets too overwhelming. The Master is going on that list. Readers of the Submissive series have already met Sasha and Cole, our main characters for this title. As Sasha’s plot line wove through previous books, I was really curious as to how she would get her HEA. Stop. Rewind. If you *haven’t* read the previous books, The Master could be read as a stand-alone. However, I think there’s deeper meaning and understanding as a reader with the more in-depth background information supplied in previous titles of the series. The author does a great job of ‘reminders’ throughout the book, but it’s surely no substitute for actually reading the prior six novels. For readers of the series, and actually, the blurb, Sasha is re-entering the BDSM world after a play session with her Dom went horrifically of-the-rails. She is re-joining the Partners-in-Play BDSM group, and she requires retraining in order to overcome the abuse she sustained. She needs to learn to trust herself again, while playing, after such a traumatic experience. Here, the parallels with life overwhelmed me, to be honest. So many people are involved in either physically or emotionally abusive relationships—it made my heart hurt just thinking about it. How do those people manage to find the yin to their yang? Someone that simply *gets* them, even if they’re really broken? That’s today’s society, unfortunately. Everyone has baggage, and seeing Sasha’s baggage laid before us, the readers, drove home exactly how fortunate I am to have Mr. VampBard. As we watch Sasha go through her ‘process’, it gave me hope. Hope that someday, I’ll be able to put behind me the rest of the baggage I brought into my marriage. Hope that other people—still...
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Jan
31

Sunday Snippet: Dirty Sexy Saint by Carly Phillips and Erika Wilde

Sunday Snippet: Dirty Sexy Saint by Carly Phillips and Erika Wilde  About the Book Dirty Sexy Saint Authors: Carly Phillips and Erika Wilde Publisher:   Self-published Series: Dirty Sexy #1 Genre: Contemporary Erotic Romance Released:  January 19, 2016 Snippet Samantha’s head felt as though it was going to explode. The pressure, the pounding, the slightest movement increased the throbbing against her skull. With a soft groan, she pried her eyelids open and squinted in the too-bright room. She didn’t recognize her surroundings, and panic rushed through her, kicking up her heart rate. As she glanced around, hazy memories of last night finally filtered through her brain, giving her a semblance of relief, which didn’t last long as mortification swept through her aching body. Not only had she had way too many drinks, she’d flirted outrageously with a gorgeous stranger, and had to admit that it’d felt damn good to be a little bad. She groaned out loud, only to be caught up by a harsher recollection. Her father had completely and totally cut her off, just as he’d said he would. The pounding in her skull increased to epic proportions. Unfortunately, her humiliation wasn’t finished yet. Not only hadn’t she been able to pay her bar bill, she’d burst into tears in front of The Gorgeous One, blabbered about her personal woes, then vomited in spectacular fashion, missing the toilet completely. Then there was the shower, where her savior had stepped in along with her, helping her clean herself up and dress again after. Her utter mortification was complete. Careful not to jostle her head too much, she gently rolled to her back and slung her arm over her eyes to shield them from the shaft of daylight coming in through the window. She definitely needed a few more minutes to gain her bearings before she attempted to get out of bed. Which gave her too much time to think about her behavior the evening before. Getting drunk, on any occasion, so wasn’t her. She’d never been a party girl, and she knew her limits when it came to alcohol—one cocktail and no more. Last night, she’d consumed more shots of liquor than she could remember, but they’d all tasted so good, and she’d secretly loved the fact that each drink had a dirty name. At the time, indulging in a few Royal F**ks, Screaming Orgasms, and Blow Jobs had been a fun and harmless way to thumb her nose at all the rules and social norms her parents had placed on her for so long. But her...
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Jan
25

Review: The Kinky Bank Robbers Series 1-3 by Annika Martin

Review: The Kinky Bank Robbers Series 1-3 by Annika Martin The Kinky Bank Robbers Series Author: Annika Martin Reviewer: Jen Twimom What I’m Talking About: Recently, I finally got around to devouring reading The Kinky Bank Robbers series by Annika Martin (aka Carolyn Crane). The series is a silly, sexy romp, full of fun and adventure, yet serious and poignant when called for. The books follow a group of bank robbers, known as The God Pack, who live life by their own rules, making the most of each moment, while supporting one another with unconditional friendship. Each novella-length book is its own standalone tale, but the stories are richer as they build upon the connections made from book to book. All three books are shared from the first person point of view of Isis. The Hostage Bargain (Book #1) It’s just another day at her horrible job at First City National until three bank robbers dressed in business suits and zombie masks walk into Melinda Prescott’s bank. She immediately feels a connection to the group, volunteering herself as a hostage, wanting to help them stick it to her boss – the man she blames for her parents’ death. Now that she’s going along with the group, she wants to fit in, all the way, even adopting a goddess name, Isis, and agrees to all of the group’s sexually deviant rules. This story works because it is over the top: fun and silly, yet intense. The author does a great job building Isis’s personality as a risk taker, so when she agrees to the bank robbers’ terms, it’s not out of the blue. Additionally, the fast pace allows for an honesty between the characters that would have otherwise been drawn out secrets or misunderstandings in a more traditional romance. The Kinky Bank Robbers series is aptly named: the group loves sex, naughty, gritty sex that typically involves more than two players. And while there are a number of graphic sex scenes in the short book, the scenes add to the tale – whether it is about pushing individual limits or healing old wounds, it all fits together seamlessly. My Rating: A- Enjoyed A Lot The Wrong Turn (Book #2) Now that the God Pack is a complete foursome with matching tattoos and Isis formally part of the club, the group needs a score to keep up with their fast-paced lifestyle. But Isis notices a dark edge to Thor, who is becoming increasingly reckless and pushing the others. She’s worried he...
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Jan
7

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: Bound Series

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: Bound Series Welcome to my weekly feature that focuses on audiobooks. It’s time to… Audiobook review: Bound Series Titles: London Bound (#1) & Drawn That Way (#2) Authors: Jessica Jarman (#1) & Bronwyn Green (#2) Narrator: Tatiana Sokolov Audio Speed: 1x Series: Bound #1 & #2 Genre: Contemporary Romance Audiobook Source: Authors When I discovered that the authors of one of my favorite series, Bound by Jessica Jarman and Bronwyn Green, published the first two books in audiobook format, I think I squealed out loud for a bit. Would I like the opportunity to review them? Hell yes! Before I get into the audio/narration part of the review, I want to state that I strongly enjoyed both books the first time around. Much of what I wrote in my original reviews of both London Bound and Drawn That Way still holds true, and I’ll summarize my thoughts on both stories as taken from my original reviews. London Bound: Overall, I found London Bound an entertaining, steamy erotic romance. While Nathan is a bit perfect, Meg is wonderfully real, creating a beautiful equilibrium. They share some intense and beautiful moments, carrying me away in their mutual affections. I needed things to work out for the couple because they make such a good match. I liked that they didn’t have a completely easy road, and it took some time to make it work. The D/s relationship and love affair are nearly perfect, and sometimes enjoying an ideal romance is just what a tired soul needs to getaway for a while. Drawn That Way: I absolutely adored Drawn That Way! Rory and Tristan make a wonderful pair, and their chemistry is palpable. I was emotionally connected to each character right from the get go; able to relate in some way or another to both. Watching each let go of their hangups and worries as they give into their mutual lust is satisfying. I also appreciated that the author addresses the issue of sexual harassment in the workplace, which is a serious issue in today’s society. Overall, I totally loved Drawn That Way. While the story isn’t overly complex, it is emotionally satisfying. The characters are completely likable and grow enough to make the book fulfilling. The eroticism is equally emotional as it is sexual. As for specifics to the audiobook versions: One thing I noticed about listening to the books – I didn’t realize how much sex was in both books until listening! The first book in the series, London...
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Dec
29

Review: Mastered by Maya Banks

Review: Mastered by Maya Banks Mastered Author: Maya Banks Reviewer: VampBard Rating: DNF What I’m Talking About: It’s always interesting to pick up a new book, new series by an author I’ve read and love. Much like my #dayjob, it’s a new adventure every day. I never know what I’m going to get, and while I’ve adored stuff I’ve read in the past, sometimes I just can’t get out of there fast enough. Sometimes I think, “Oh, maybe things will turn around.” Sometimes that doesn’t happen, and that was the case for me, reading Mastered by Maya Banks. What I liked was the world-building. The Enforcers is a new series by Ms. Banks, and I *like* the alpha male characters. I want to learn more about them, and I sincerely hope future titles in this series don’t annoy me. Yes, I will continue to read (unless I’m put-off by something in subsequent books). The secondary characters were engaging, and I found myself looking for more interactions between the major and minor characters. Drake, our alpha hero Dom was broody, and I like me a good broody alpha male. He was also broken, and I like to watch the journey a broken alpha takes through a book. Then, there was the bad. Evangeline, our lead female, was too whiny and wishy-washy for me. She was inexperienced, and that didn’t bode well for me. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good virgin-hooking-up-with-a-Dom story. Evangeline, however, didn’t seem to do anything to educate herself. It seemed like she lived in a vacuum, and never got on the Internet or anything. Her interactions with Drake seemed forced, and while I did see her stand up for herself, it wasn’t in a positive, empowering way that was believable for me. What made me DNF Mastered was the way the BDSM element was handled. Drake, as a Dom, knows better than to not use a safeword. He explained the lifestyle in a sketchy manner to Evangeline, and I didn’t like that. I get that Evangeline (his Angel…) was inexperienced and he didn’t want to scare her, but I think he should have been more forthright with regard to his preferences, expectations, and needs with her. I mean, Evangeline had ONE previous sexual experience and it sucked. I wasn’t surprised at all that Drake could be a giver in bed. Good Doms are. Drake and Evangeline had one sweet encounter in the title—I liked that part. Then, in the next...
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Dec
22

Review: Calling the Play by Samantha Kane

Review: Calling the Play by Samantha Kane Calling the Play Author: Samantha Kane Reviewer: Jen Twimom Rating: C+ What I’m Talking About: Tyler Oakes knows he’s on his last chance to make it as a pro quarterback, so he’s toned down his partying and is trying to focus on playing the game. But sometimes he needs to scratch an itch, and it doesn’t matter to him if companionship comes from males, females, or both at the same time. But when he meets undercover cop Randi McInish, he knows he wants more than just one night with this foul-mouthed sex pot. And then there is the Rebels’ new quarterback coach, Brian Mason, who shares a history with Tyler. When it’s clear that the two men have unspoken issues to resolve, can Randi step aside and let them discover love? Despite struggling with some issues while reading the first book in the series, I decided to give Calling the Play a shot. Unfortunately, after only hitting the 10% mark, I had to stop reading for two reasons. First – it was pretty obvious that this story was once again going to include a romance between a player and a coach. I had issues with how this was handled in the first book, and I was already cringing at the replay of this dynamic. Second – I couldn’t stand the heroine. She was simply obnoxious. I admire women who are all about “this is who I am and this is what you get,” but it was over the top. Her vocabulary pretty much only consisted of multiple 4-letter words strung together. I don’t mind a potty-mouth, but there is a time and place, and this felt forced. However, after taking a break from the book for a few weeks, I decided to pick it up again, and I’m happy to report, ended up enjoy it – more so than the first book. While I still had some issues with the book and the characters, overall, I liked the story and romance of Tyler, Randi, and Brian. While Randi still bugged me from time to time, I liked that she was protective of Ty, and eventually Brian. Additionally, as the story progressed, her level of unpleasantness toned down considerably. Meanwhile, the coach-player issue didn’t play out as it did in the first book, and I found I wasn’t irritated by the Brian-Tyler dynamic because 1) they have a history and 2) it’s still preseason and they aren’t in a player-coach...
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Nov
3

Review: The Exhibitionist by Tara Sue Me

Review: The Exhibitionist by Tara Sue Me The Exhibitionist Author: Tara Sue Me Reviewer: VampBard Rating: B- What I’m Talking About: I’ve been reading Tara Sue Me’s Submissive series for a while now. I’ve loved it because it shows how a real couple, albeit a *rich* couple, navigate a relationship. That’s why I fell in love with it. Today, after reading The Exhibitionist and sleeping on it, I’m still pretty much stuck as to why I’m not feelin’ this title. I think it’s the conflict. Like in some romance titles, there’s internal conflict. Nothing that’s *really* external for both Nathaniel and Abby. I’m pretty sure that was it, because the issues didn’t *seem* that big. Maybe it’s because of my own relationship with Mr. VampBard that this really annoys me. Abby has something that bothers her. Remember Charlene from previous books? Yeah. She’s still hanging around. Abby’s jealousy is, I think, her conflict, whereas Nathaniel’s conflict is wondering if he is enough. There are some seriously hot play sessions, as well as some sweet sex in this title. I felt like I was hopping from one sex scene to the next, and the connective tissue was superficial in many cases. We learn more about Jeff & Dena, and I’m glad—I needed to see their HEA after reading their book. We learn in the end matter that Sasha & Cole get a book (or maybe I’m just reading into the foreshadowing in the book as well as the sneak peek). I know not every relationship is picture-perfect. It’s gotta be hard for authors to keep coming up with stuff readers want. I actually understand the reason for a book like this. It’s important to relate the exhibitionist side some people have. Many of us are more demonstrative in public, versus keeping all that for behind closed doors. One thing I think was covered well in this title was the way people continue to grow and change. It’s important that we recognize these changes in our significant others, and TALK about it. Needs, wants, and desires change over time. How we evolve as a couple, in the face of these changes, is what matters. I think that element of the internal conflict could’ve been handled better. I’m still interested in picking up more titles in the Submissive series. I’m not breaking up with the series or anything. This title just didn’t do it for me. My Rating:  B- Liked It, but I had a few small issues About...
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Oct
13

Review: Craving Flight by Tamsen Parker

Review: Craving Flight by Tamsen Parker Craving Flight Author: Tamsen Parker Reviewer: VampBard Rating: A- What I’m Talking About: I *adore* stories about people that are different. Especially people that have a secret. A secret that’s taboo amongst the circles in which someone travels. *wrings hands gleefully* [This content redacted because it was spoilerific] When a college world religions professor, immersed in the Orthodox Jewish community as a life choice, decides to marry within her Church after a divorce, she already has a few strikes against her. Plot-wise. In the big picture. Not in my eyes, though. I thought Tzipporah was following her beliefs, and attempting to be true to herself within the defined rules of her religion. Being authentic is something we all struggle with every day. Okay, maybe not *all* of us, but most of us. What makes Tzipporah’s secret so damning is that it needs to be kept from her beau. At first, I was thinking, “This girl is going to get into a marriage and she’s going to be a closet sub. So NOT ending well.” Any organization—whether religion-based, socially based, or politically based—has rules of conduct. We don’t stand up at the random murder-mystery party and shout, “I’m a submissive, and I am proud!” Can you imagine the gossip? The dirty looks? The hostile stares because people wish they were you? Exactly. That’s why we don’t do it. I guess the thing that got me most about Tzipporah was her faith that she’d find a husband who would meet her needs. However, if we look at Tzipporah’s growth through the book, there’s TONS of positives. I didn’t know what to think about Elan. Until the end. Ms. Parker kept me guessing about him. There were lots of things that drew me to Elan. He was like an really nice bottle of Polish vodka, opened for the first time and allowed to breathe—full of promise and potentially painful the next morning. He was an enigma; I couldn’t get a bead on him from Tzipporah’s point-of-view. I can’t imagine what kind of hell that put HER through. (Ignore the fact that I talk about these characters as though they’re living, breathing people).I can’t talk about Elan anymore without being spoilery. *zips lip* I have only one complaint about Craving Flight: I feel like I was book-gypped. You know, when you’re reading along on your Kindle and you think you’ve got another thirty minutes immersed with your new friends in Romancelandia? Then, BAM!...
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Oct
7

Review: Claimed by Elle Kennedy

Review: Claimed by Elle Kennedy Claimed Author: Elle Kennedy Reviewer: VampBard Rating: A+ What I’m Talking About: *wipes drool from chin* You. Guys. I have absolutely NO idea how to coherently explain how IN LOVE I am will Claimed, Elle Kennedy’s first title in her Outlaw series. First, I want to clearly state—for the record—I am in a book coma. I also stayed up WAAAYYY too late reading last night because of this title. Also, don’t let my genre category-thing below mislead you: Claimed is post-apocalyptic/dystopian/erotic romance. Apparently, retailers don’t have that category. THEY SHOULD. I’d be all over it. Of course, future titles in this category have a pretty high bar to meet, as I’d make Ms. Kennedy’s venture into this genre the standard. Five super hot and sexy guys. One spit-fire blonde. Making their way in a future so different from our reality. The world-building is fabulous. I had images of a war-ravaged world in my head throughout the book. It’s almost like The Walking Dead meets The Stand without all the gore. I liked watching the relationships between the characters evolve. Just when I thought I would be able to put down my Kindle and do the dishes or flip laundry, something else would be revealed—and I’d keep reading instead of doing other stuff. My inner narrative as I read, if I had to put it in a sentence, would be: Oohhh… I wonder how THIS is going to work out… Each new reveal in the world-building or in character development drew me in further. At about the 55% mark, I went to my auto-buy list (because I may be guilty of having that note on my phone…) and added this series. I don’t usually do that until I hit the end and decide whether I like the resolution and forward-movement into the next book of the series. If you’re not into menage, you might want to pass… but it’s not super in-your-face, and it IS Super. Hot. *fans self* There’s a Dominant/submissive vibe going on, and I encourage everyone that gets into these subgenres to get all grabby-hands for this title. Rylan is our third in the menage scenes, and I have a bit of a crush on him. He’s funny, and he clearly knows his role in the relationship. Being Connor’s bestie (our hero!), he’s learned to read his friend like a book. They live together, fight together, and have come together to survive in this world they grew...
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Aug
27

Review + #Giveaway : Broken Play by Samantha Kane

Review + #Giveaway : Broken Play by Samantha Kane Broken Play Author: Samantha Kane Reviewer: Jen Twimom Rating: C What I’m Talking About: Broken Play is the first book in a new erotic romance series by Samantha Kane. The series follows the players of the fictional Birmingham Rebels NFL expansion team. Cass Zielinski, captain of the Rebels, leads this team full of misfits and has-beens who know this is their last chance to make it. Beau Perez, Cass’s best friend, is a recovering addict. Cass will do anything to protect his friend, and the pair do EVERYTHING together. The final piece of Broken Play’s menage is Marian Treadwell, the Rebels new female assistant coach. Marian has many secrets, including the fact that her father is a famous college coach. While Broken Play holds a lot of promise, it was more about hot and erotic sex scenes than a lot of substance. It is a menage romance, and there is some emotional growth and development between Cass, Beau, and Marian, but it’s mostly framed by sex. There are promising external dynamics… like a last-chance football team looking to make its mark and a female coach in a male-dominated profession. However these side stories get little attention, and there is no plot development to go along with them. Additionally, conflict in the form of a homophobic player comes up once, yet is never addressed again. If these aspects of the book had been developed more, I think the book would have been stronger. What the book does have going for it are super erotic, multi-partner sex scenes. However, I feel it necessary to give a small warning to those “no lube” critics, lube is never once mentioned during the rear-entrance scenes. Additionally, the mention of condom use is sporadic and inconsistent. Regardless of the condom and lube issues, the scenes are very hot, and while they are going on, I can mostly forget my concerns over the professional relationship aspect. However, the fact is these people are teammates and she is a coach, so it did bother me. My biggest issue with the entire book is the portrayal of Marian as a coach. I get that she has massive demons to exorcise. I understand that she’s non-conventional and has spent her whole like suppressing who she is. I have no issues with her desires and applaud her journey of self-discovery and acceptance. However, she is one of the team’s assistant coaches, which should come with job standards and an expectation...
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